Caught Being Good: A thank you to SPL Parts, a comment on what makes a great aftermarket part, and the value of removing variables from a system.

I want to give a big shout out to SPL Parts for creating this spherical bushing replacement product for R35 GTR, as well as their rear spherical bushing replacements. I think it’s safe to say nobody at SPL sat down and said “we’re gonna sell a ton of these!” Meeting a customer need and solving a problem, even when something might not be a high volume seller, is a hallmark of a great aftermarket performance company. That’s what these parts did for me and I’ll explain why.

The GTR handles great for its size/weight stock, but I wanted much more. As in many vehicle systems, as you start improving things you try to replace the parts that are holding performance back most. As you do, the new weakest link is a moving target. Upgrading to SPL front upper arms made camber/caster adjustable. Upgrading all the rear arms reduced slop and dynamic toe especially. Between them all, turn in and front grip, as well as rear forward grip, were much improved. However, I was still having unpredictable behavior on track.

The wheel bearings on a GTR are beefy and seemed in shape. The bushings looked just as robust, but the car was unpredictable and the alignment kept shifting around. A number of people in the GTR community assured me the bushings were not the issue. I had no other plausible explanation though. Based on my experience with other platforms, and being a bit stubborn, I got spherical bushing deletes from SPL anyway. Worst case, I would rule another part out as being my issue.

Boostlogic installed the parts while the engine was being upgraded, the car got aligned, and the alignment stayed that way. The car didn’t suddenly handle perfect. I didn’t suddenly go faster. The car was simply predictable, and that’s what I needed to “finish” adjusting the dampers to the best of my knowledge.

I can’t say this part made the car X tenths quicker a lap. I can’t really claim any performance improvement from it at all, and yet it was absolutely vital to my progress with the car. When you have a variable in the system out of your control, progress becomes extremely difficult. That’s what this product solved for me.

So thank you to SPL parts for coming out with this product, without which I’d still be pulling my hair out. I know it’s not for everyone, but for those who need it, it’s a life saver.